I find it so hard to be optimistic...how can I change?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by nanna4550, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. nanna4550

    nanna4550 New Member

    Lately I have been trying to be positive, enthusiastic, and optimistic about things. I am battling those discouraging thoughts in my head all the time, like I'm afraid to be excited about anything.

    I want to be fun and easy going and up, I'm finding it so hard to get out of this funk and be motivated to do anything. I think I have accepted that I will have to battle this disease for the rest of my life, but in doing this instead of releasing me from the burden of it, it has left me with a "what's the use" attitude.

    I have so much to be thankful for, but for some reason the first thing I want to do is complain.
    Any suggestions on how you successfully brake this tendency? How do I get a more positive attitude?

    You are all so sweet to respond, Thank you. Nanna
  2. AnneTheresa

    AnneTheresa Member

    Hi Nanna, I can relate. I am not, by my nature, an optimistic person but I'm trying to retrain my mind to learn to think more positively.

    What has helped the most is the keeping a gratitude journal; I list each day five things that I'm grateful for having in my life.

    I list small things like hearing child's laughter, watching a good show on television, receiving a friendly e-mail, being able to accomplish a small task, etc.

    Since keeping the gratitude journal, I find myself throughout the day looking for things to feel grateful for so I can list them in my journal.

    This practice has gone a long way in changing my perspective. Perhaps it would help you, as well.

    God bless,
    Anne Theresa
  3. nan2dance

    nan2dance New Member

    hey Nanna. Everyone works differently, right? But I'll tell you I can't live WITH illness unless I rage a little first. When I indulge my funk 100% scream and cry and bitch and moan, well, it kind of frees me up for whatever else I'm ready to feel. Instead of trying so hard to be positive all the time, let 'er rip real good once in a while. Maybe even once a day. Generally a good idea to have alone time for this. My MOm, God bless her, she has listened to me carry on and given me hugs and cried along with me. But it's not the kind of emotional workout I want to give her too often! Every once in a while I allow myself to admit THIS SUCKS!!!! I'm not saying I feel all better afterwards. But I do kind of get spent and somehow that opens my emotions to other possibilities. Like a rainstorm. Surprisingly sometimes afterwards I can feel positive stuff without even trying. Go figure. If you're around other people a lot of the time, try to get yourself some time and space alone to funk it out good. I also like to include as much good stuff in my day as possible. I mean, anything (or anyone) that is being kind to myself or bringing a little pleasure. Good to know your creature comforts and use them.

    I totally understand about the being afraid to get excited! I mean, how much disappointment can a person take? I'd love to know how to risk my heart that way over and over. Mostly I'm blase now. But if I can't look forward to things with anticipation, at least I know how to enjoy things in reverse! When things do pan out I treasure them so much. I love to rehash what must be boring and ordinary things to other people.

    There is a weird line between "acceptance" and "fighting" an illness. It's way complicated and confusing. And the language itself is messed up. I admire your desire to go forward. I hope this doesn't sound like empty philosophy but I'll share with you the only thing that ever made sense to me. I was waiting to get better so I could start to have a life again. Then someone told me it's possible to be sick AND have a life. It might not be the life I want but it's happening anyway and it's happening now. I am sick AND I have a life. Hm. Well, somehow that helps me!

    Changed my life actually. I guess I stopped waiting.

    I still take care of business. Call it "fighting" if you want. I certainly haven't "surrendered" or "accepted" this situation as okay. I'm totally motivated. But something shifted inside and I've been saner for it.

    If you're ever afraid that you've become complacent, make a list of all the reasons you can think of that you'd hold onto being sick. Gotta be totally honest to do this. Are you sabotaging your progress in any way? Do you get anything out of being sick? If you come up with reasons, take a good look at them. Do something about it. If you can't come up with reasons then rest your mind at ease. You're probably not complacent and might even have a huge list of reasons to be motivated.

    I don't know if any of this makes sense but your questions are so important I wanted to write.

  4. achy

    achy New Member

    I used to be a very funny, happy person. It just came naturally...now I have to work at it.

    I miss that person at hope to get back to "there" some day.
    Until then, I try to remember some advice from a psychiatrist that spoke at a FM group.

    "Change the Picture"

    She said to imagine looking a 3 paintings on a wall. Each time you look at a different pic. the old one fades from your memory...you CAN change the thoughts in your head the same way you change the picture. Once you realze your having negative thoughts replace them with positive ones.

    Sounds simple....but it's not. Not at first anyway. It takes a littel work, and some VERY creative thinking, but after a while you'll do it without thinking.

    I'm still working at it - Good luck and wishing you brighter days!!

  5. Adl123

    Adl123 New Member

    Dear Nanna,
    Almost exactly the same words you wrote went through my mind just before I clicked on your post.

    I've been thinking about that subject a lot, as I seem unusually discouraged lately by circumstances that will not change. It is I who must change.

    I agree with the gratitude journal. I'm not very good at writing things down but I express gratitude (silently) every time I go through my front door. I also try to think of things I'm grateful for, on a daily basis,and thank the Universe (God).

    You're right, we have so much in our country, and it somehow seems that, even if we are in pain, lonely and without funds, we should be happy, because, even then, we still have more than many people in other countries. However, everything is relative.

    I think it is a daily path. I also think we should have the same compassion for ourselves that we would have for a child who is hurting, and not judge ourselves.

    I think if we are "up" occassionally, we are doing a great thing. No one can be up all the time as you now. Most people really can't even be up most of the time. I also think that the carefree, bounding glee that we had as youths, will mature into a deep , serene peace and joy, if we work day by day, at not letting negative thoughts stay in our minds, and at being grateful for everything.

    I think the secret is in being happy with what one has, and not pining for what one does not have, even if what one doesn't have is considered to be just normal. And Boy, is that hard!!!!!

    I also find that simple breathing meditation, where one focuses on the in and out breath, and does not allow stray thoughts to remain, is very helpful.

    I also find that happy chants and happy music, both religious and secular,
    help me feel better when things get tough. For, let's admit it, what we are doing day by day, in just living with these DD's, is tough, and we are strong people.

    Good luck, I hope you feel better and will continue trying .
    Big hugs,
  6. atiledsner

    atiledsner New Member

    nanna 4550,I really needed to see this, thank you and all who responded.I have lived in many circumstances.many times we think that things will make us happy.

    I have lived with out a kitchen,running water,and without a bathroom, in my younger first married years years.Had 2 small children no vehicle, and in seclusion.

    Do you ever listen to Joyce Meyer? She is on christian TV.She has a lot of good teaching and has helped me a lot.

    Joel Osteen is super good too. The both of them were on togather with Joel's wife this week.Super good!!!!!!!!

    Every one's responce was enlightning,but one thing for sure every time I get in the shower and feel that hot water run over my body....I thank god for it.

    I have found that the simple things,small things that we sometimes take for granted are appreciated the most when we don't have them.

    My first husband and I became very successful.We built a house 4004 sq. feet and paid for it when we were 25.We had land, cattle, money, vehicles.

    In 1983 I had a tumor the size of a baseball.The next year my daughter had a terrible disease.We spent 25,000 dollars in 18 months on medications and tests for her.

    We sold everything but our house and 1 car.Then we divorced after 26 years of marriage.

    I started my own business,became more sucessful than me and my husband had ever been.

    Both my parents had terminal cancer at the same time. I closed my business, lost tons of money.I took care of them until they both died.I was the only child.

    I had back and neck surgery.the neck surgery went well the back surgery went the opposite.I can only stand for a few minutes. I an in constant pain.

    While I was caring for my parents,my 2nd husband was called to active duty Iraq. When he got back we got a divorce.It was my fault.

    I don't know if the stress of what I've endured over the past years has messed with my reasoning of things. I have made some rash decisions.

    I have convinced myself that this is just life,full blown.I am looking for that next successful venture,the next chapter in my life.

    I didn't mean to write a book but sometimes when i write it makes me see things more clearly. Plus,I know everytime I give of myself, it could help another.


  7. atiledsner

    atiledsner New Member

  8. nanna4550

    nanna4550 New Member

    I want to thank all of you for your wonderful suggestions. I'll have to print out the post to remember all of them.

    When I woke up today, I knew that God told me He is powerful enough to change or fix anything that I have messed up in my life. The peace I feel today is so wonderful, I definately feel your prayers and appreciate them.

    I'll check out Joyce Meyer. Is she on dish?? If you know what channel- let me know. I'm on the west coast.

    So, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I hope I can be a help to you all some time, too.
    LOL, Nanna
  9. SusanEU

    SusanEU New Member

    I watch them when I can too, Joyce is on here everyday (if I can get up in time). Even if one is not religious they have a lot of great comforting messages.

    I also have some of her books, which are very encouraging.

    I've been getting down in the dumps myself, thanks for the encouraging posts.

    Sue in Ontario
  10. pirtpain

    pirtpain New Member

    I really like the gratitude journal!! I think I heard something about that on Oprah a long time ago. She also does this & said it really helps. I started one a long time ago but was innconsistant with it. THANKS FOR THE REMINDER!!

    I will try it again...maybe this is a good thing to do amongst each other too. For instance,if every day that you log on you would put 1 positive or grateful thing from each of us. I think that would be a great thread...how about you?

  11. embersand

    embersand New Member

    Hi, Nanna.
    I don't know how long you have been doing this, but here's my ten years of experience in a nutshell:
    Have you noticed that depression comes and goes with the symptoms? Mine did. I came to see that the depression wasn't me--just a passing scene on my mental stage. Sometimes all you can do is watch the show--develop a kind of interest in this life-changing experience with all that it brings. Don't take the "downs" personally--they really don't have much to do with you/situations. A kind of equilibrium seems to be more valuable than the old "getting excited" about something. The adrenals just aren't up to the task of giving us an adrenalin fix. Have compassion for your wonderful body and how hard it is working right now. Your #1 job is to support that work. I don't think you have to be a pollyanna to do it. During the first two years, I'd be on the lookout for one moment of each day--seeing a bird outside--laughing at something my kids said--a moment where I would mentally declare: "Yes, life is worth it!"
    [This Message was Edited on 02/12/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 02/12/2006]
  12. atiledsner

    atiledsner New Member

  13. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    their approach to life. I told my aunt I was going to try some new med and see how it went. She said, "Well, w/ that attitude of course it won't work."

    Can't help it. That's my attitude and I can't change it anymore than I could change my eye color.
  14. maggiemae55

    maggiemae55 New Member

    I went to his website yesterday and watched the service, but God must have really wanted me to hear his message because it was on this same topic. I am also trying to get rid of the negative...the enemy loves it when we listen to him instead of God. Please take a look at his site and listen if possible.

    I used to listen to Joyce Meyer, but felt like she talked about herself too much, so I would become easily distracted and find myself thinking about other stuff, and then her show would be over, and I'm like "What did she say?" LOL

    Hope this helps,

  15. Yucca13

    Yucca13 Member

    In my humble opinion, life is difficult and life is unfair. It struggle to keep a good attitude even when my head is splitting and my neck and back are giving me excruciating pain along with various other parts of the old bod. .

    Two of my daughters think I want people to feel sorry for me. (I should never have confided to them how awful I felt many times, I guess.) They haven't spoken to me in almost a year. I don't deserve that kind of treatment. It is very difficult not to be a bit bitter at times. Chronic pain is a bummer - there is no getting around that.

    Guess my way of coping lately is to be grateful (I have a great husband and two other kids that love and respect me, and two wonderful grandsons). It sure is great to have a relatively painfree day or days once in a while too. Knowing that we aren't alone in fighting the battle of trying to stay positive helps too.

  16. BuMom

    BuMom New Member

    I too have noticed lately how negative a person I have turned into. I am really trying now to make a concious effort to not sound so bitter and critical.I think I am really turning off my friends and need to be more "upbeat".I have lupus and fibro and am trying to keep it to myself, they don't want to hear about it.It is so hard to be upbeat when I keep getting more symptoms and have suffered for more than 20 yrs.I lost the "prime" of my life and people insinuate that I'm just Lazy and it's my own fault, and I am a hypochondriac.I try to play golf and ususully have to play on vicodin,my partners have no comprehension of how hard it is to try to function normally and enjoy things.
  17. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    You've gotten a lot of good responses. What helps me is to accept EVERY feeling I have. It doesn't mean I wallow in self-pity or negative feelings. But it does mean I acknowledge when I feel sad or bad or empty, I just accept it, and I've found that when I don't fight my feelings or try to force them to change, they just change on their own.

    But when I expend a lot of energy in denying them or trying to change them, they don't go away and I just feel worse.

    It's okay to feel bad sometimes. You're human. And, it will pass, if you don't fight it. I read a saying once which I think is very true: what you resist, persists.

    So don't be afraid to feel angry or sad or even hopeless - it will pass through you like a wave and you come out the other side.

    You can't be optimistic or feel good all the time, although we think we are supposed to.

    But I find much more serenity and happiness when I just accept all my feelings, and stop labeling them good or bad. It doesn't mean I have to act on all of them, just accept and acknowledge them.

    One more thing - I don't accept that I will have to battle CFIDS the rest of my life. I think I am making progress, albeit slowly. I read and research and try new things and am doing everything I know of to get my health back.

    So I try to accept my limitations (e.g., can only do limited physical activity) but at the same time I'm learning all I can and trying to change this.

    Best wishes -

  18. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    said to me over the years I've had FM, some even cruel and from sources I never expected. I've always been bad about believing criticism of myself anyway. Then I started really
    LOOKING at those who has said the worst things, and realized they aren't all that great a shakes themselves!!

    I had a neighbor who had many health problems. She has a sign o utside her front door that says "Attitude is Everything". And to a degree it is. I can pity pot myself into feeling just awful about my illness, my sittuation and myself.

    I can also lift myself up at times and rah rah myself. Someone told me to do be for myself what my mother would be if she was stil alive and able to. And I do alot of that and it helps me. At times I pity myself and other times I pat myself (not literally) on the back when I've done well.

    It is surprising what a few little notes put here and there where you will see them often can do. I mean uplifting and encouraging notes. Search the web for quotes from famous people, you'll find lots of good stuff.

    Right now my situation really DOES stink. I can't think of ONE good thing that's happening or is going to
    in the near future. SO I try to be grateful that I have a home, clothes
    to cover myself, my pets...just anything I am truly grateful for. Even that my husband is still well enough to work and support us. I have a naive perhaps hope that things will get better, that my husband will get a bee in his underwear and really get moving on fixing up the place we need to sell and that we'll be able then to pay off our house. It's hard when someone says "Yes" to doing something
    and then DOES "No".

    SO often I think that even with the FM if I was a man and had the physical strength to do the things I need done it would be heavenly. My mind has all the ideas and I COULD do them fast and get them done IF I had the strength. I just don't. So I'm grateful everytime he DOES slap a brush full of paint on that place or
    drives a nail. Even HE can only drag it out SO long.

    I wish I still drove, because I used to go in the car to a fairly unbusy
    area and SCREAM at the top of my lungs until I had the frustration out! If I did that here in the house someone would call the men in the little white jackets! So when I have
    something to work on in the way of crafts and I find painting (and I'm no Van Gogh!) is an excellent outlet.
    I can slap the paint on the board or
    canvas and get all sorts of frustration out! Using dark colors or bright red helps too. Then I can go back to serene blues and greens.

    Well sorry this is SOO long. With noone to talk to for days on end I tend to get too wordy on here. I hope you find some ideas that will help you! Good luck! Bambi
  19. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    If you are anything like me, pessimism is just part of the personality you were born with---and no matter what good intentions you have to try and "get positive", it's terribly difficult when you are wired the way you are.

    I have learned not to fight that so much, and you know what, things have gotten better for me since I decided that I'm just who I am. I'm never going to have my husband's sunny, positive personality---he balances me well! But sometimes he can be almost TOO sunny, to the point of not being very realistic. I think I ground him, and sometimes bring him back down to earth to see things the way they REALLY are.

    You need both types in this world! I have learned, about myself, that I sometimes need to just "worry things through"....that I cannot just adopt a "que sera, sera" attitude and be happy about everything all the time. Sometimes, I've learned, worrying and being pessimistic is a process for me...I need to see it through, and usually if I do, things DO come out OK.

    I guess what I most want to say to you, Nanna, is be who you are. If you're that glass half empty person that I am, BE that person, and don't feel guilty that you can't be more positive. I used to hate this about myself---now that I realized that I'm just wired that way, I think things have gotten a lot better for me, I don't stress over it, I'm just the way I am...and I (and you, too) are pretty neat people, and we can be happy even if life isn't totally sunny for us!

    Just my thoughts...

  20. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    This might sound very cynical, but I have gotten to the place where I just don't expect things from people and then I won't be disappointed when they don't come through. It is so much easier.

    Well, you guessed it: I'm like you. I am trying to make cahnges and have to some extent, but there is a long ways to go. Last Friday I decided to start looking forward to some things that we are planning when my husband's daughter called about her in utero baby dying. Talk about a splash of cold water.

    I am trying to look at things that don't involve people in a positive way...the plans my husband and I have...but as for people...forget it. The people I love the most have hurt me the worst...my sons and families. So, I just can't continually let myself be open for them to squash me. It's called realism.

    So, I know what you're going through...I am making some changes but some I'm just not willing to try anymore.

    Make sense?


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